Plumber reveals expert tips on protecting pipes in a hard freeze

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Scott Cattanach was hoping he didn't have to try and find a plumber today, but no such luck.

"I checked it this morning when I turned on my faucets, it didn't have any water," said the homeowner who lives on Meadowvale just south of Richmond. "I went out and looked and nothing was broken because it was frozen. It wasn't until everything thawed out that the crack showed up."

Like many Houstonians, his pipes froze overnight, and even though most of his external pipes were wrapped, the small portion that wasn't, cracked. Water sprayed everywhere. With the help of a neighbor, Cattanach finally managed to shut off the water. However, he still hasn't found a plumber to come by.

That's probably because most were already inundated with calls.

"It's cold and pipes just freeze," said plumber Kason Allen.

We found Allen trying to close of a major burst pipe in Midtown that was supplying water to an entire condo complex. In that case, a plumber was needed for the big job. However, there are many things homeowners can do to reduce their chances of needing a plumber.

If your pipes already burst, "try to find a main shutoff if you can" before calling a plumber, Allen said.

"Always try to leave a faucet or something going, at night, just a trickle, to get the water circulating in the pipes," he said.

"We had wrapped the pipes here, for many many years," said Larissa Lindsay, who owns several historic homes in Houston's inner core. "So we are just waiting for it to warm up enough, so hopefully they have water again."

Lindsay says most of her pipes were wrapped years ago, but admits that some probably need a refresh.

The City of Houston says for water main breaks away from the house and in the city right of way, homeowners should call 311 and report the leak. Regardless, officials advise everyone to know where their main shut off around their house, so water is not spraying out continuously after a leak.

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Tips to protect your home in the cold weather, Kevin Quinn reports.

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